They say good things come in small packages. They say the children of today are far ahead of where the children of yesterday were. I can’t comment on either since I am only 9 years old, and my world view is a tad bit limited. At an age when I should be cycling in our street or playing dress-up with my father’s ties and shoes, I have been compelled to write this op-ed. Why? Because no one else is speaking for us — the children of today. Apparently, the future of tomorrow. I have doubts that we will survive till the future as I will just point out to you. Living in Lahore is like breathing in one huge airport smoker’s lounge. We breathe in air that is toxic and cough, sneeze and cough again in what is becoming a cycle of nature. As the New York Times wrote last year, smog has become Lahore’s fifth season. The levels of dangerous particulates know as PM2.5 (tiny enough to enter the blood stream) are already far above the safe limit. No wonder my eyes are constantly watering and I have had an intractable cough for a week. My 7 years old brother who never takes a day off from school has been sick for two days already. My 1 years old sibling can’t stop coughing. It’s all very well for the Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid to state that children should stay indoors, but I would like to ask her how? Children who are the most vulnerable population are the most affected. We are the only ones who have to be out in the polluted, smoggy morning air since we have school in the mornings. Then assemblies. Compulsory riding lessons. During our recess time we are again out in the lovely smog-ridden air. After school we are again out, coughing and sneezing if anyone cares to listen. The same story is repeated at birthdays and football matches. The same segment of population which is in most danger of falling sick from smog is kept out in smog the most amount of time. Let me tell you how smog is harming us. Our changes of lung diseases go up! Heart diseases. Skin problems. Throat infections. You name it, and chances are that if we are growing up in smog-ridden Lahore, we will suffer from one or more of these diseases. Or worst still, cancer Let me tell you how smog is harming us. Our changes of lung diseases go up! Heart diseases. Skin problems. Throat infections. You name it, and chances are that if we are growing up in smog-ridden Lahore, we will suffer from one or more of these diseases. Or worst still, cancer. But no one seems to care. No one seems bothered that the future of Pakistan or more specifically Lahore is being made to breathe air that is almost toxic. Schools, sports, birthdays, gatherings are continuing as before. I really don’t understand why schools don’t shut down in the smog season. To complete school days, home-schooling or online schooling are options. Alternatively, summer vacations can be reduced to 2 months or one and a half months. I am sure there are many other solutions to this problem. But keeping children as young as me and my brother in, is not the solution! Since no one else is speaking for the children of Lahore, I took this burden onto myself and wrote this op-ed. Hopefully now someone, somewhere will begin to care and change can be brought about. The writer is Pakistan’s first and only kid blogger so far. This eight years old blgs at aahilkeyaan.com. This is his first oped Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2018.